The “pseudo-conservatives have no alternative policy”

Friday, March 31, 2006
The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board is right on the immigration matter:
“Never mind that even under the most liberal proposals now in Congress, current illegals would have to pay a fine, learn English, and wait upward of a decade to qualify for citizenship. And no matter that these pseudo-conservatives have no alternative policy, other than to arrest and deport millions in a way that would cause far more social and economic disruption than we have now.”

The world will never be entirely fair on this side of the grave. Talk show host Dennis Praeger perspicaciously points out that a secular society cannot merely focus on the morality of a particular issue. It must also deal with the practical aspects. Let’s get real: we cannot send an estimated 10-12 million illegals “back to where they came from.” Just do the math. This is not even faintly feasible. But didn’t most of our ancestors obey the law when they immigrated to this country? Why should today’s Hispanic lawbreakers be cut so much slack? It’s purely a matter of the numbers. We are not talking about mere thousands of people, but millions. I am therefore rationally compelled to support the overall proposals of John McCain and Ted Kennedy. Some sort of amnesty program is our only realistic option.

36 comments:

Skookumchuk said...

As a person of mixed ancestry, my nightmare has always been to see Hispanic neighborhoods degenerate into something resembling the riot-torn US inner cities of the 1970's or the Paris of today. Or, less likely, that they develop a microscopic but potent irredentist community - a kind of ETA within the Southwest. Not that any of this is by any means imminent or inevitable, but it just seems to me that the eventual possibility became a tad more likely this week than it was last week.

Perhaps my overly nervous view is colored by time spent in the Balkans, post Yugoslavia. It is a place where one sees as in few other places the wreckage caused by romantic over investment in ethnic identity.

For America, fighting both an internal ethnic battle and the jihadis at the same time would be a very tall order indeed.

One basic problem, as Peggy Noonan has stated, is that immigrants are entering a culture where the meaning of US citizenship has been systematically diluted.

So. The issue is how to reverse this when so many PC-driven forces in effect conspire to keep robbing the collective American experience of any positive meaning. And if those cultural forces prove impossible for us - the American people - to change, what do we do then? Those are the questions.

Rick Ballard said...

One of the most perplexing problems with the subject is that many people are treating this as a citizenship issue rather than a status issue. That lack of precision further clouds the discussion as does the lack of clarity within the proposal now before Congress.

There is no reason that comes readily to mind that a new and definitionally second tier status cannot be created. One that can never lead to citizenship and may be revoked by a simple process for any enumerated transgression - or because of societal need.

The status would have to attach to children born of parents holding such status which would require change in the citizenship as birthright definition. That may be too high a hurdle but walking accross the border to give birth is too low a hurdle in reality.

Creating a 'yellow card' renewable only upon profer of proof of having income and having filed tax forms with a proviso that benefits derived from the state must be repaid prior to renewal would satisfy about half the nativist arguments. Subjecting holders of 'yellow cards' to an additional 2% on their FICA tax would provide funding of a good part for services used but not paid for - it would also serve as a penalty, which should also delight the nativists.

Skookumchuk said...

As VDH says today:

So what fails and what works? Bilingual education in our schools, multicultural romance about a mythical Aztlan in our universities, guest worker programs that institutionalize helot status, salad-bowl separatism, and millions who cross the border illegally, all have contributed to the present disaster. But as we see with second- and third-generation model Mexican-American citizens, English immersion, acceptance of an American identity, integration, intermarriage and assimilation, legal and monitored immigration in the thousands from Mexico--all that guarantees immigrants success and energizes us the host.

ex-democrat said...

it's funny, but among the interest groups i've seen interviewed on this subject, i have yet to see a LEGAL immigrant asked for their opinion.

so here's an opinion from one of them: i know plenty of non-americans who would make a terrific contribution to this country if given the chance. too bad, they are law-abidng and wouldn't dream of coming/staying here illegally, i guess.

Seneca the Younger said...

I've got an idea: we only allow people who have walked across the Sonoran Desert, swum the Rio Grande, and avoided arrest for three years to be citizens.

chuck said...

The status would have to attach to children born of parents holding such status which would require change in the citizenship as birthright definition. That may be too high a hurdle but walking accross the border to give birth is too low a hurdle in reality.

Sounds like Germany up to a few years ago: citizenship defined by "blood." As a result, Germany ended up with a large population of non-citizen Turks born and raised in Germany. I think that was just asking for trouble. The genius of the founding fathers in making everyone born here a citizen is that it finessed the political opportunism and misuse of government power that a less basic and uncompromising choice would have lent itself to. The founders were very smart in this, as they were in many other things.

As skook points out, the problem is not all external or with the illegals. We also suffer internally from cadres who aim to end the US as we know it and agitate to achieve that end.

David Thomson said...

The main thing is this: most of these people are here to stay. We simply cannot send them back to their original home. A useful dialogue is impossible unless that indisputable fact is embraced. Talking to someone who idiotically says otherwise is a waste time. Sorry to be so blunt, but I did successfully pass my 4th grade math tests.

Am I upset that we are placed in such an uncomfortable position? Do I worry about the separatist aspects of many of these illegals? Of course, I am still quite irritated regarding the Mexican flags observed at the recent protest marches. Still, I cannot ignore mathematical reality. 10-12 million people are simply not going to be kicked out of the United States! End of story.

Knucklehead said...

ex-dem,

My wife is a legal immigrant. Her opinion is that the only difference between her legal status and their illegal status is that she paid the filing fee, signed the forms saying she wouldn't go on federal welfare of any sort and wouldn't vote in federal elections and she pays taxes. She thinks they should be converted to legal status so they pay taxes and can start working their way up the job ladders.

The big (or at least "a big") difference between the massive immigration of yesteryear and that of today is one of transportation technology. The immigration of the 19th and most of the 20th century was done from across the oceans by large passenger boats. People arriving by boats are far easier to keep control of than people who can walk across a 1400 mile land border.

Another little recognized thing was that 1st and 2nd class passengers on these boats, in the days of Ellis Island and other immigrant processing stations, were rubber-stamped through with minimal processing. The idea was that if they could afford 1st or 2nd class passage they were probably healthy and weren't indigent. It was the steerage passengers who got the medical checks and such.

And then there's an apparent myth about the nature of the "melting pot". Here's an article in today's WaPo, Tuning In to Anger on Immigration. In it we get:

The first time Rep. Tom Tancredo got really angry about immigration, the year was 1975, and he was a junior high school social studies teacher in Denver. The state had recently passed the nation's first bilingual education law, and Hispanic kids were taken from his class to study in Spanish.

That idea made zero sense to Tancredo, the grandson of Italian immigrants. He believed that newcomers should be assimilated into the country, as they had been for generations. The image of America as a beacon for people from all over the world uniting under one flag and one language was threatened, he contended, if the country started adapting to immigrants, instead of the other way around.


America was surely a "beacon" for people who felt, for whatever reason or combination of reasons, that they had to leave their homeland.

The idea, however, that they left where they were and came here with some conscious notion that they were "uniting under one flag and one language"" strikes me as preposterously naive. I don't believe for a moment that the majority of those millions upon millions of people climbed aboard those boats thinking that at the end of their journey they were going to gleefully hurl themselves into the "melting pot". They melted in that pot more like the proverbial frog being boiled. Building themselves a better life, rather than some pre-arrival determination to be melted, is what melted them.

And the US always adapted itself to the swarms of immigrants every bit as much as the immigrants adapted themselves to the nation. It has always been a two-way street as far as that goes. Entire states were majority populated by first generation immigrants. They were the ones who slowly but surely built the local governments and customs. They always created as much as they adapted to.

I've been reading The Frontier in American History which is a series of essays by Frederick Jackson Turner written between, roughly, 1893 and 1914 or so and published as a book in 1920 or thereabouts. While he certainly doesn't focus on the immigration situation he does point out, repeatedly, that the people who settled the frontier as it moved across the continent were, in very large measure, brand spanking new immigrants who, in many cases, only slowly relinquished their language and culture.

The ol' melting pot never sat inside some giant microwave oven yielding a delicious stew in just a few minutes flat and the stew was never served up in bowls that were unchangingly "American". We are the stew and the stew is us. And like it or not some Mexican spices are going into it.

Skookumchuk said...

david thompson:

10-12 million people are simply not going to be kicked out of the United States! End of story.

Very true. No, they can't be kicked out. And very probably the only way to deal with this is through some sort of amnesty. No argument there. And the Mexican spices in and of themselves - along with the Salvadoran and Chilean and Cuban spices - are fine, too.

Given all that, the questions then become:

1. How do we assimilate these 10-12 million in the teeth of a Race Industry that campaigns against assimilation in favor of permanent ethnic separation and a sense of victimhood, which represents a departure from past elite behavior.

And -

2. How do we maintain better control of who comes in and from where when powerful interests - the Race Industry and business in combination - seemingly want no control at all.

Those are far tougher problems than an amnesty.

David Thomson said...

“The first time Rep. Tom Tancredo got really angry about immigration, the year was 1975, and he was a junior high school social studies teacher in Denver. The state had recently passed the nation's first bilingual education law, and Hispanic kids were taken from his class to study in Spanish.”

Tom Tancredo was right to be angry. He sensed that the radical left was pushing policies which were contemptuous of the very idea of a united America. The problem is that now Tancredo is often talking like a fool. He needs to step back and take a fresh view of the situation. An estimated 10-12 illegals are in the country. We can cry and moan and shake our fist in the air. Alas, it does not matter. These illegals are here to stay.

David Thomson said...

“How do we assimilate these 10-12 million in the teeth of a Race Industry that campaigns against assimilation in favor of permanent ethnic separation and a sense of victimhood, which represents a departure from past elite behavior.”

Thank you. This is the real issue. Now the dialogue can legitimately begin.

Knucklehead said...

Skook,

Thanks for the Noonan link. I haven't read Peggy since her silly hissey fit about being inconvienced by airport security.

Her point about not assimilating immigrants "patriotically", IMHO, woefully misses the larger point. We are not failing to teach immigrants and their children about the great experiment that is the United States, about the enormous achievements, about the IDEA of it - we are failing to teach EVERYONE about these things.

Our own children are not being taught about what the United States is and why, despite the flaws and the ugly episodes of our history. They are being taught that we are nothing but a collection of flaws and ugly episodes.

I've recently been curious about immigration for several reasons and have made some sporadic attempts to discover some of what interests me. Along the way, in addition to hitting bookstores and such, I've attempted to google up information about who the heck these legions of immigrants were and why they left their homes.

We all know the general outline: religious persectution, political persecution, lack of economic opportunity, famine and such but I find it astonishing that there it has been so difficult to find the details of those things. What were the conditions in "Germany" that made millions of people leave there over several decades? Why did nearly 10% of Norwegians leave Norway over a mere decade?

Along the way to seeking that sort of information I've run across numerous course outlines for college courses. The synopsis level details seem promising but the outlines invariably focus on all the troubles - the bigotry and exploitation - that the immigrants had to deal with when they arrived. Nothing I can find - at least nothing remotely modern - seems to even begin to investigate what were surely positive aspects that provided whatever was ultimately necessary to overcome the problems and troubles and to build lives, communities, and ultimately a nation that was better than what they fled from.

Everything I can find that is of any vintage since the 60's or so is a relentless catalog of negativity. This isn't what is being fed to our immigrants - it is what is being fed to all of us. And it is a crying shame.

We allowed the Left to take over our schools and the presentation of our history and our purpose for existence. Our education system is run by people who hate us and cannot see anything positive about us but have no trouble whatsoever finding, and dwelling relentlessly upon, our flaws.

JohnnyCanuck said...

I didn't think the Founding fathers had anything to do with making all people born on US soil American citizens. Wasn't that the 14th amendment in the 1860s?

What we're seeing is the American version of European dhimmitude. It's a full surrender to the Mexicans who are using a collectivist strategy to defeat the naive individualistic gringo.

Americans don't get nationality, race, or ethnic identity issues. They were strangely surprised by 9/11, the Iraqi resistance, and now the Mexican rights movement. Americans and most English Canadians have a simplistic worldview based on economics. The Mexicans are a real nation. They have a claim to the south west and I think they will eventually get it. Their demonstrations of recent weeks are similar to the Muslim protests over the cartoons and the unrest in France last November. They are testing your will to resist. The Mexicans are the strong horse, the Americans are self-loathing and weak. Future generations of Mexican-Americans will back the strong horse.

Skookumchuk said...

Knucklehead:

Our education system is run by people who hate us and cannot see anything positive about us but have no trouble whatsoever finding, and dwelling relentlessly upon, our flaws.

As is our elite media. The larger issue is how to counteract this.

johnnycanuck:

The Mexicans are the strong horse, the Americans are self-loathing and weak. Future generations of Mexican-Americans will back the strong horse.

Not true. Most - nearly all - Mexican and other Latin immigrants have no illusions about the inadequacies of the countries they are leaving. They are much more clear-eyed about it than your typical university professor or New York Times reporter. Mexico, except in the cultural and sentimental sense, is not and never will be a "strong horse".

terrye said...

I do not think that the folks who show up for demonstrations are really all that typical of any group, so I take the flag waving stuff with a grain of salt. Put it this way, a lot more immigrants were keeping a low profile than were out in those streets.

And to say we are the weak horse is absurd, these people are economic refugees fleeing a caste like feudal system which has been so plagued by corruption that it can not even support its own.

Look at Mexico and the rest of Latin America... Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro, the new commie/cocaine dealer in Bolivia...oh yeah that is strong horse material. Their anti Americanism has more to do with finding excuses for their screwed up societies than it does with taking over ours.

People came here for a fresh start, land, oppurtunity, to begin again, to run away, it was tne New World. Today people come here for many of the same reasons.

I do not know where people got this idea that all those folks got off those boats speaking English. My Dad said that he served with Cajuns in WW2 who could barely speak English and their people had been here for centuries.

I think a guest worker program is the only realistic answer, and tighter border security. You really can not have one without the other. We need to have more control over who is here and we can not do that so long as people can come in and out easily. But transporting all those people? Never happen and what is more it is not fair. We let this happen and now we have to deal with it.

Knucklehead said...

Terrye,

Re: the speaking of English stuff. My mom's side of the family was from the big German emmigrations of the late 19th century. Her mom and dad were both born in the US to recently immigrated Germans and each of their families spoke German among themselves but her mom and dad were apparently so frustrated with one another's German dialect that they only spoke English to each other.

They produced six children who survived beyond infancy. None spoke German. Apparently WWII put an end to the continuation of teaching and speaking German in the German communities but it seems clear that for the schoolkids of those communities German was just another subject to be suffered and passed.

The five sons all served in WWII and two were decorated for valor. One of her cousins had two ships torpedoed out from under him - he wound up in the drink twice from Japanese torpedos, the first time at Pearl Harbor. Not that it matters to this discussion but there are some interesting stories in them thar immigrants, their children, and how assimilation worked as opposed to the myth of it.

Knucklehead said...

Johnnycanuk,

Interesting point re: citizenship and the 14th Amendment. The framers - and apparently everyone else - clearly recognized, but did not spell out, in the constitution, the common "right of the soil" and "right of the blood" concepts of citizenship. They also clearly recognized the notion of attaining citizenship for those who did not possessit by either being born in the US (right of the soil) nor by having a US citizen as a parent (right of the blood).

The 14th Amendment specifically spells out the right of the soil part but that was done not because it was not completely understood and accepted but, rather, to put an end to claims that freed slaves who were born in the US were not automatically citizens by virtue of the 13th Amendment since they had been specifically excluded from citizenship prior to the 13th Amendment and, therefore, could only become naturalized citizens.

Regarding the claims of Mexicans, or Mexico, to soveriegnty over southwestern states (or as some would specify the pretty much the southern third of the US), people and even nations may claim whatever they wish. That doesn't mean the claims are valid. US "paperwork" in this matter is in far better order than anything Mexico has any hope of ever presenting and, well, who has possession? Mexico is far from attaining any status as a horse of strength and even farther from, by a long stretch, from seriously pushing any claims it might dream it has to portions of the United States. We're more likely to see Canadian borders altered before we see the US-Mexico border altered.

terrye said...

knucklehead:

We are more likely to see Mexico become the 51st state than we are see the US cede any territory. For years the French in Louisiana had a fantasy of such autonomy as did the Mormons in Utah. We all know how that ended.

Cortez landed and laid claim to land all the way to Kansas whithout having any idea who or what was there and then of course the Spanish hanged the king of the Aztecs for treason to the King of Spain, his rightful Lord and Master...so I guess it is debatable as to whether any Spanish speaking ancestors of LaRaza or whatever ever did have a rightful claim.

And yes, you can learn a lot from the old folks if you listen to them, oral history. I know I grew up hearing alot of stories and I have tried to not forget any of them.

Skookumchuk said...

This is the kind of PC-addled argument that fills the air in lieu of a rational discussion.

Knucklehead said...

Let's not forget the death toll either, Skook.

What amazes me is that some people want a roundup when just getting a decent fence of some sort, or even just finding some way to seriously choke down the crossings, is subject to serious resistance from Greens and Pinkos.

Stop the flow. Figure out what to do about the jaguars, coyotes, and water fountains later. Then do some serious thinking about how to deal with the useful portion of the illegals already here and how to send the undesirables back to Senor Fox with ribbons and bows.

terrye said...

I think one reason that some lawmakers are talking about a virtual fence is that the environmentalists will keep them in court for years fighting any real fence. I remember last year hearing that a piece of fence on the Rio Grande had finally been cleared for construction, it had been tied up in court for a decade.

I think people think we still live in a time when people can just build things, far from it. I wonder if Eisenhower could get the interstate highways built today?

Knucklehead said...

Good point, Terrye. Any attempt to build an $8B double fence will be tied up in environmental impact studies and court cases until the next ice age. Any mass roundup and deportation plan will be in the tied up in the courts until the end of the next ice age.

What we need is some feasible way to deal with the issues.

Knucklehead said...

Oh, and no, there's no way we'd get the interstate highway system, or Hoover Dam, or the TVA, the Panama Canal, or any other thing done today. Can't even drill for oil in ANWR 'cause the caribou might snuggle up against the warm pumps and make extra little caribous.

Everyone wants everything but nobody is allowed to do anything 'cause somebody else doesn't have it on their list of everything they want.

Seneca the Younger said...

As far as assimilation goes, I think we'll handle it like we've always handled it: we'll get a resulting melange that has some of all of it. My favorite example, although one I think is just and easy example, is food: locally, I can get tacos, burritos, menudo, Vietnamese pho, northern Italian, assimilated Americanized Italian (on a street named Via Appia, Louisville CO was an italian mining town) steak or elk at a place that's been operating since the Gold Rush, Schwäbische German (there's a reason the mountains just south of Denver are called the Black Forest), Japanese (lots of Japanese here), Chinese, Thai, and I'm missing some I'm sure.

There is no American culture except as a result of mixing all the immigrants.

Personally, I think the fuss about illegal Hispanic aliens is because they didn't stay down here with us, but have started going to places like Hartford. Even someone like Victor hanson, who ought to have more sense than this, just suggested on Fox that the demonstrations are3 all illegals --- which is just nuts.

Skookumchuk said...

The 1,500 mile Alcan Highway took only nine months to build.

To us, it often seems impossible to build anything, since the socialists elevate stasis to the level of a religious sacrament, but on the other hand, once you've finally done it, you've broken the PC logjam.

Sorry, we don't care if the lesser long-nosed bat becomes completely extinct - we're gonna build a fence.

The implications would be enormous - not just for illegal immigration but for everything.

terrye said...

seneca:

How can he know that? I bet half the people in those demonstrations are not even immigrants.

Knucklehead said...

"Is there any limit to what we should do to stop the flood of Mexican's across the border?"

I don't know the answer to that question but I think rendering the lesser long-nosed bat extinct is somewhere comfortably within that limit.

chuck said...

...so I guess it is debatable as to whether any Spanish speaking ancestors of LaRaza or whatever ever did have a rightful claim.

Reminds me of New Mexico: hispanics would claim the land as historically theirs, but the indians would disagree and regarded the hispanics as interlopers. There was certainly more bad blood between the indians and the hispanics than between either and the gringos.

Ah, the wonders of the ethnic salad bowl.

terrye said...

chuck:

Once upon a time the Spanish up in Sante Fe would make a point of telling you they were Spanish, not Mexican. It was that whole Indian thing. I don't know if that is still a big deal up there or not, I haven't been there for years.

Looking at the blog comments on some conservative blogs is kind of scarey. I am seeing stuff like "Operation Wetback", "or offer bounty hunters $!,000 a head" to bring people in. One guy said that almost all the Mexicans were murderers and criminals etc. If Hispanics hear enough of this the Republicans can forget getting 44% of the vote next time.

Surely there is some way to deal with this without gratuitous racial slurs, insults and stereotypes.

ex-democrat said...

knuck - why on earth does your wife think they should get citizenship ahead of others who respect our laws? does she favor queue-jumpers in other contexts too?

some come here just to consume; others, to be better able to create.

Skookumchuk said...

Yes, the inhabitants of Santa Fe were like that, once upon a time. As were, to some degree, the early Californio ranching aristocracy. I've got a fascinating book about them somewhere . . .

While I hesitate to use the term, since it is trademarked by the Race Industry, Latin America can be unbelievably, well, racist. Only a leftist blinded by anti-American hatred would think otherwise. Everybody at the top of the heap in Mexico is pretty light-skinned, and possesses even more Castillian surnames than are usual by Latin standards. Intermarriage with a person with darker skin? Forget it.

The worst in my experience is Argentina. The (true) Europeans in Buenos Aires usually consider the provincials, especially those of Indian ancestry in the north and west, as only a bit above savages.

But - changing gears a bit - if the multi-culties can be stopped, the border closed, immigration regulated, and all this done in a non-PC yet empathetic way, the Republicans could gain millions of patriotic, military-enlisting, "family values" voters for a long time to come. It is getting late, since the Democrats are wooing them so fiercely. However (and chime in here, Rick) I do know that with increasing socioeconomic status Hispanics are much more likely to vote Republican than are other ethnic groups, notably blacks. An opportunity for the GOP, if they don't blow it.

Rick Ballard said...

ex-dem,

I wouldn't give them green card (permanent resident) status, let alone let them get in line for citizenship. Knuck said his wife wanted them to have legal status - not a jump the line deal for citizenship.

A visa is legal status and I don't think I would do any more than that.

terrye said...

rick:

Just so long as they can say they are legal and don't have to be worried about being sent away. I imagine that would be as much as many of these people want.

chuck said...

The (true) Europeans in Buenos Aires usually consider the provincials, especially those of Indian ancestry in the north and west, as only a bit above savages.

I dated a Chilean for a (very) short while and gathered the same impression. Her parents were German and Croat and she made very clear that she wasn't "Hispanic."

I've also seen photos of Cuban police harrassing black folk at the beach. Apparently the Cuban paradise also suffers from racism and, given the social and historical stagnation that grips socialist countries, I doubt that will change anytime soon.

loner said...

The Spaniards pursued the Indians with bloodhounds, like world beasts; they sacked the New World like a city taken by storm, with no discernment or compassion; but destruction must cease at last and frenzy has a limit: the remnant of the Indian population which had escaped the massacre mixed with its conquerors and adopted in the end their religion and their manners.[28] The conduct of the Americans of the United States towards the aborigines is characterized, on the other hand, by a singular attachment to the formalities of law. Provided that the Indians retain their barbarous condition, the Americans take no part in their affairs; they treat them as independent nations and do not possess themselves of their hunting-grounds without a treaty of purchase; and if an Indian nation happens to be so encroached upon as to be unable to subsist upon their territory, they kindly take them by the hand and transport them to a grave far from the land of their fathers.

The Spaniards were unable to exterminate the Indian race by those unparalleled atrocities which brand them with indelible shame, nor did they succeed even in wholly depriving it of its rights; but the Americans of the United States have accomplished this twofold purpose with singular felicity, tranquilly, legally, pilanthropically, without shedding blood, and without violating a single great principle of morality in the eyes of the world.[29] It is impossible to destroy men with more respect for the laws of humanity.


[28] The honor of this result, however, is by no means due to the Spaniards. If the Indian tribes had not been tillers of the ground at the time of the arrival of the Europeans, they would unquestionably have been destroyed in South as well as in North America.

[29] See, among other documents, the Report made by Mr. Bell in the name of the Committee on Indian Affairs, February 24, 1830, in which it is most logically established and most learnedly proved that "the fundamental principle that the Indians had no right, by virtue of their ancient possession, either of soil or sovereignty, has never been abandoned either expressly or by implication."

In perusing this Report, which is evidently drawn up by a skillful hand, one is astonished at the facility with which the author gets rid of all arguments founded upon reason and natural right, which he designates as abstract and theoretical principles. The more I contemplate the difference between civilized and uncivilized man with regard to the principles of justice, the more I observe that the former contests the foundation of those rights, which the latter simply violates.

—Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

terrye said...

loner:

In Joseph Ellis's biography of George Washington he makes note of Washington's admonition to the colonists to be careful in their dealings with the Indians. He felt it was inevitable that whites would become the dominant force in the New World but he said we should be careful not to accomplish this in a way that would stain us with lasting moral shame. Which ofcourse is what happened.

One thing different in the Spanish and British/American contact with the natives were the natives themselves. The great cities full of gold and treasure that the Conquistadors found in Peru and Mexico did not exist in North America. In fact I had a professor of native studies tell us years ago that the introduction of the horse into the culture of the Plains Indians had almost as much effect on that culture as the whites themselves did.

I think we forget that most of the Indians of the south were a dim memory long before the Puritans landed at Plymouth Rock.

All of this took centuries.